What is Microsoft Company? Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational technology corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington. Microsoft’s best-known software products are the Windows line of operating systems, the Microsoft 365 suite of productivity applications, and the Edge web browser. Its flagship hardware products are the Xbox video game consoles and the Microsoft Surface lineup of touchscreen personal computers. Microsoft ranked No. 14 in the 2022 Fortune 500 rankings of the largest United States corporations by total revenue; it was the world’s largest software maker by revenue as of 2022. It is considered one of the Big Five American information technology companies, alongside Alphabet (parent company of Google), Amazon, Apple, and Meta Platforms.
Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen on April 4, 1975, to develop and sell BASIC interpreters for the Altair 8800. It rose to dominate the personal computer operating system market with MS-DOS in the mid-1980s, followed by Windows. The company’s 1986 initial public offering (IPO) and subsequent rise in its share price created three billionaires and an estimated 12,000 millionaires among Microsoft employees. Since the 1990s, it has increasingly diversified from the operating system market and has made several corporate acquisitions, the largest being the acquisition of LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in December 2016, followed by its acquisition of Skype Technologies for $8.5 billion in May 2011.
What is Microsoft Company?
Microsoft is an American multinational computer technology corporation whose history started 4th April 1975. Formed by Harvard College dropout, Bill Gates and his childhood friend Paul Allen, Microsoft has now become the biggest software company. It is also one of the most valuable companies in the world (before you read on you can find out more about our Microsoft Services here).
So how did Microsoft become so successful?
Microsoft is engaged in developing, licensing and supporting a range of software products and services catering to different requirements. In 2000 Steve Ballmer was appointed the new CEO of Microsoft. Bill Gates had met Steve Ballmer at Harvard University before he left. Although there was some concern over Ballmer’s ability, Microsoft retained its top spot in both business and personal computer markets. Microsoft’s primary strengths and most of its profits were obtained from the business side. Although the company recognised that they had a major presence in consumer markets as technology advances.
The successful Altair deal back in January 1975 inspired Bill Gates and Paul Allen to form Microsoft. Their revenues for 1975 totalled $16,000. Microsoft’s big break was in 1980 when a partnership was formed with IBM which resulted in Microsoft providing a crucial operating system, DOS, for IBM PCs. This meant that for every IBM Computer sold a royalty was paid to Microsoft. In 1990, Gates showed the future plan for Microsoft with the introduction of Windows 3.0. 60 million copies of Windows had been sold now which effectively made Microsoft the sole keeper of the PC software standard.
Microsoft before 1990 was predominantly a supplier to the hardware manufacturers. That was their target market. As technology advanced and personal computers become so popular, the bulk of Microsoft’s revenue was generated from sales to consumers. It was the first software company to reach $1 Billion in revenues. As more and more versions of Microsoft Windows were launched, Microsoft captured a higher market share of the world’s PC (around 90%).
Project Longhorn in 2001, saw many of Microsoft’s previous operating systems being replaced starting with Vista. Vista was released to the general public in 2007 and it was the new operating system. There were many Vista options available catering for different consumers; Home (Basic or Premium), Ultimate, Business and many more. Microsoft’s core customers, the corporate market preferred Windows XP as the operating system was fast, stable and secure.
Windows 7 was released in 2009 to replace Vista which secured Microsoft’s lead in the software market. This was followed by the release of Windows 8 in Oct 2012 which included major changes to its OS platform and user interface to improve user experience on tablets. Since then Windows 8.1 has been released (October 2013) which contained more improvements.
Microsoft also entered the gaming and mobile phone market and was successful in capturing a large market share. The Windows Mobile OS is used by numerous sellers including HTC, LG, Samsung and LG. In 2001 Microsoft released the Xbox followed by Xbox Live in 2002. Both releases were very successful which placed Microsoft second in the video gaming market.
The Xbox 360, released in 2005 was a very powerful gaming console while facing strong competition. Microsoft had to cut the prices of their gaming consoles to gain a higher market share due to competition. This was a successful move; the Xbox 360 was the most used game console in American homes.
Microsoft acquired Skype in 2011 for $8.5 Billion; this was the largest acquisition in Microsoft’s history. Microsoft acquired Skype to compete with Apple’s Facetime and Google’s Voice. Microsoft planned to add Skype to its products such as Outlook, Xbox and Windows smartphones.
Microsoft has also recently moved into cloud computing with the Windows Azure platform which was announced in 2008. The Windows Azure platform lets consumers build computing infrastructure in the “cloud” and offer it to its users. In 2011, Office 365, a cloud version of Office business software suite was released which included applications such as Word and Excel.
Exploding Onto The Scene – DOS, Microsoft Word & PCs
Initially, Microsoft was known by the name that Paul came up with – “Micro-soft”, a hyphenated version of microcomputer and software. This name stuck for a while and they even registered the company under the same name in Albuquerque, New Mexico on November 26, 1976.
Microsoft grew quickly in size and scale – it made its first $1 million in 1978, just three years after starting. They soon felt the need to shift their headquarters to Washington since it was hard to find good programming talent around New Mexico. On January 1, 1979, Microsoft moved to Bellevue, Washington which remained as its headquarters for around 7 years.
The company was incorporated in Washington, D.C. under the name “Microsoft Corporation, Inc.” on June 25, 1981. The name stuck chords with everyone at the company after Bill Gates started calling it that. With having incorporated the company, it was announced that Bill Gates and Paul Allen would be the president and executive vice-president respectively, with both of them being a part of the Microsoft board.
After the shift, the company started focussing on producing software for various systems and companies. Apart from its take on the BASIC programming language for different systems, Microsoft also launched its very first operating system – Xenix in 1980. Xenix was a port of the Unix operating system that it licensed over from AT&T Corporation.
It was also during the same year that Microsoft launched its very first hardware product, the Z-80 SoftCard – a piece of tech that allowed Apple computers to CP/M (an operating system) – and this turned out to be a huge success. The Z-80 SoftCard even became the main source of revenue for that year, helping Microsoft stay afloat.
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